Chef and Great British Menu competitor Jude Kereama on the charm of Cornwall’s villages and seaside foraging. Interview: Gabrielle Jaffe. Photograph: Matthew Fox
Growing up in New Zealand, I was in a country surrounded by coast. When I came to the UK 19 years ago, it was only meant to be for a couple of years. But then I met this wonderful woman who’s now my wife.
At first we lived in London but would visit her mum in North Cornwall every long weekend. I could never wait to get down. We’d surf in the morning, then I’d fix up a big breakfast. It was a chance to fish for mackerel, pick mussels, build sandcastles and play rugby on the beach – I always felt better for it.
After seven years in London, we felt our hearts pulling us back to the sea and opened our restaurant, Kota, in Porthleven. We live above the restaurant, which is right on the harbour, and I wake up every day to a view out on to the boats – I can never get bored of it.
Porthleven has real heart to its community. When I was on the Great British Menu, people from the town kept coming up to me saying how proud they were of me. It’s that kind of place.
I still work as hard as I did in London, harder even. But now in my downtime I can go for runs by the coast or take my eight-year-old son for ice cream. He often comes with me when we go foraging for sea greens for the restaurant. I feel so lucky to be in a place where I can do this and get my lobster from a man who pulls up 10 yards from Kota. You can’t beat the seafood down here. But for me, the best bit about living by the sea is the sense of peace it gives you.
For more information about Jude’s restaurant Kota, visit kotarestaurant.co.uk.